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1972  statement /Bishops1  Committee  on  Liturgy 
USCC,  1312  Mass.  Ave.  NW,  Washington,  DC  20005 



The  congregation 
The  occasion 
The  celebrant 


Music  serves  the  expression  of  faith 
Evaluation  of  music  in  celebration 
The  musical  judgement 
The  liturgical  judgement 
Structural  requirements 
Textual  requirements 
Role  differentiation 
The  congregation 
The  cantor 
The  choir 

The  organist  and  other 
The  pastoral  judgement 


The  introductory  rites 
The  liturgy  of  the  Word 
The  preparation  of  the  gifts 
The  Eucharist ic  Prayer 
The  Communion  rite 



General  conclusions 

Specific  conclusions 
The  acclamations 
The  Alleluia 
"Holy,  Holy,  Holy  Lord" 
The  memorial  acclamation 
The  great  Amen 

Doxology  to  the  Lord  ' s  Prayer 
The  processional  songs 

The  entrance  song 

The  communion  song 
Responsorial  psalms 
Ordinary  Chants 

Lord  have  mercy 

Glory  to  God 

Lord  T  s  Prayer 

"Lamb  of  God" 

Profession  of  faith 
Supplementary  songs 

The  offertory  song 

The  psalm  or  song  after  communion 

The  recessional  song 

Progress  and  New  Directions 




In  November  1967,  the  Bishops' Committee  on  the  Liturgy  published 
a  statement  on  music  entitled  "The  Place  of  Music  in  Eucharistic 
Celebrations."  This  statement  was  drawn  up  after  study  by  the  then  Music 
Advisory  Board  and  submitted  to  the  Bishops' Committee  on  the  Liturgy. 
The  Bishops'  Committee  approved  the  statement,  adopted  it  as  its  own, 
and  recommended  it  for  consideration  by  all.  The  following  statement  on 
music  in  liturgical  celebrations  is  a  further  development  of  that  statement 
and  was  drawn  up  after  study  by  the  committee  on  music  of  the  National 
Federation  of  Diocesan  Liturgical  Commissions.  Their  work  was  reviewed 
by  the  Bishops'  Committee  on  the  Liturgy  and  their  advisors.  The  finished 
copy  is  presented  to  all  by  the  Bishops'  Committee  on  the  Liturgy  as 
backgound  and  guidelines  for  the  proper  role  of  music  within  the  liturgy. 

In  the  course  of  this  century  music  and  its  role  in  the  liturgy  have 
been  the  subject  of  many  documents.  On  November  22,  1903,  the  motu 
proprio  Tra  le  Sollecitudini  of  Saint  Pius  X  was  promulgated;  on  December 
20,  1928,  the  apostolic  constitution  of  Pope  Pius  XI,  Divini  cu/tus,  was 
published;  the  encyclical  of  Pope  Pius  XII,  Musicae  sacrae  discipline/ ,  was 
promulgated  on  December  25,  1955.  On  September  3,  1958,  the 
Congregation  of  Rites  issued  an  instruction  on  sacred  music  and  the  sacred 
liturgy.  The  crescendo  of  documents,  both  major  and  minor,  on  the  role 
of  music  in  the  liturgy  continued  and  reached  the  culminating  point  in 
Vatican  M's  Constitution  on  the  Liturgy  in  which  an  entire  chapter  was 
dedicated  to  sacred  music.  The  liturgical  constitution  explained  the  role  of 
music  in  divine  services  and  formulated  a  number  of  principles  and 
guidelines  on  this  subject.  Next,  on  March  5,  1967,  the  Consilium— the 
post-conciliar  commission  on  the  reform  of  the  liturgy— in  conjunction 
with  the  Congregation  of  Rites  issued  an  instruction  on  music  in  the 
liturgy.  The  latter  prompted  the  former  statement  of  the  Bishops' 
Committee  on  the  Liturgy,  "The  Place  of  Music  in  Eucharistic 

A  few  years  have  elapsed,  and  the  pastoral  situation  in  the  United 
States  can  be  regarded  with  greater  calm  and  serenity.  However,  it  is 

urgent  that  fresh  guidelines  be  given  to  foster  interest  with  regard  to  music 
in  the  liturgy. 

After  several  years  with  the  1967  statement  it  should  now  be  clear 
that  mere  observance  of  a  pattern  or  rule  of  sung  liturgy  will  not  create  a 
living  and  authentic  celebration  of  worship  in  Christian  congregations. 
That  is  the  reason  why  statements  such  as  this  must  take  the  form  of 
recommendation  and  attempts  at  guidance.  In  turn,  this  demands 
responsible  study  and  choice  by  priest  and  leaders  of  singing:  "a  very  wide 
field  of  diverse  liturgical  practice  is  now  open,  within  the  limits  set  by  the 
present  discipline  and  regulations...  Not  all  priests  appreciate  how  wide  the 
opportunities  are  for  planning  lively  and  intelligible  celebration"  (National 
Conference  of  Catholic  Bishops,  April  1 967)— especially  in  the  various 
combinations  of  song  and  spoken  prayer  in  the  liturgy. 

It  is  hoped  that  this  statement  of  the  Bishops'  Committee  on  the 
Liturgy  will  be  of  use  to  the  bishops  and  their  liturgical  commissions  and 
to  all  who  celebrate  or  plan  liturgies. 



1.  A  man  is  a  Christian  because  through  the  Christian  community  he  has 
met  Jesus  Christ,  heard  his  word  in  invitation,  and  responded  to  him  in 
faith.  Christians  gather  at  Mass  that  they  may  hear  and  express  their  faith 
again  in  this  assembly  and,  by  expressing  it,  renew  and  deepen  it. 

2.  We  do  not  come  to  meet  Christ  as  if  he  were  absent  from  the  rest  of 
our  lives.  We  come  together  to  deepen  our  awareness  of,  and  commitment 
to,  the  action  of  his  Spirit  in  the  whole  of  our  lives  at  every  moment.  We 
come  together  to  acknowledge  the  love  of  God  poured  out  among  us  in 
the  work  of  the  Spirit,  to  stand  in  awe  and  praise. 

3.  We  are  celebrating  when  we  involve  ourselves  meaningfully  in  the 
thoughts,  words,  songs,  and  gestures  of  the  worshipping  community— when 
everything  we  do  is  wholehearted  and  authentic  for  us— when  we  mean  the 
words  and  want  to  do  what  is  done. 

4.  People  in  love  make  signs  of  love,  not  only  to  express  their  love  but 
also  to  deepen  it.  Love  never  expressed  dies.  Christians'  love  for  Christ  and 
for  each  other,  Christians'  faith  in  Christ  and  in  each  other,  must  be 
expressed  in  the  signs  and  symbols  of  celebration  or  it  will  die. 

5.  Celebrations  need  not  fail,  even  on  a  particular  Sunday  when  our 
feelings  do  not  match  the  invitation  of  Christ  and  his  Church  to  worship. 
Faith  does  not  always  permeate  our  feelings.  But  the  sign  and  symbols  of 
worship  can  give  bodily  expression  to  faith  as  we  celebrate.  Our  own  faith 
is  stimulated.  We  become  one  with  others  whose  faith  is  similarly 
expressed.  We  rise  above  our  own  feelings  to  respond  to  God  in  prayer. 

6.  Faith  grows  when  it  is  well  expressed  in  celebration.  Good  celebrations 
foster  and  nourish  faith.  Poor  celebrations  weaken  and  destroy  faith. 

7.  To  celebrate  the  liturgy  means  to  do  the  action  or  perform  the  sign  in 
such  a  way  that  the  full  meaning  and  impact  shine  forth  in  clear  and 
compelling  fashion.  Since  these  signs  are  vehicles  of  communication  and 


instruments  of  faith,  they  must  be  simple  and  comprehensible.  Since  they 
are  directed  to  fellow  human  beings,  they  must  be  humanly  attractive. 
They  must  be  meaningful  and  appealing  to  the  body  of  worshippers  or 
they  will  fail  to  stir  up  faith  and  men  will  fail  to  worship  the  Father. 

8.  The  signs  of  celebration  should  be  short,  clear  and  unencumbered  by 
useless  repetition;  they  should  be  "within  the  people's  power  of 
comprehension  and  normally  should  not  require  much  explanation."1 

If  the  signs  need  explanation  to  communicate  faith,  they  will  often  be 
watched  instead  of  celebrated. 

9.  In  true  celebration  each  sign  or  sacramental  action  will  be  invested 
with  the  personal  and  prayerful  faith,  care,  attention,  and  enthusiasm  of 
those  who  carry  it  out. 


10.  The  responsibility  for  effective  pastoral  celebration  in  a  parish 
community  falls  upon  all  those  who  exercise  major  roles  in  the  liturgy. 
"The  particular  preparation  for  each  liturgical  celebration  should  be  done 
in  a  spirit  of  cooperation  by  all  parties  concerned,  under  the  guidance  of 
the  rector  of  the  church,  whether  it  be  ritual,  pastoral,  or  musical 
matters."2  In  practice  this  ordinarily  means  an  organized  "planning  team" 
or  committee  which  meets  regularly  to  achieve  creative  and  coordinated 
worship  and  a  good  use  of  the  liturgical  and  musical  options  of  a  flexible 

11.  The  power  of  a  liturgical  celebration  to  share  faith  will  frequently 
depend  upon  its  unity— a  unity  drawn  from  the  liturgical  feast  or  season  or 
from  the  readings  appointed  in  the  lectionary  and  artistic  unity  flowing 
from  the  skillful  and  sensitive  selection  of  options,  music,  and  related  arts. 
The  sacred  scriptures  ought  to  be  the  source  and  inspiration  of  sound 
planning  for  it  is  the  very  nature  of  celebration  that  men  hear  the  saving 
words  and  works  of  the  Lord  and  then  respond  in  meaningful  signs  and 
symbols.  Where  the  readings  of  the  lectionary  possess  a  thematic  unity 
the  other  elements  ought  to  be  so  arranged  as  to  constitute  a  setting  for 
and  response  to  the  message  of  the  Word. 

12.  The  planning  team  or  committee  is  headed  by  the  priest  (celebrant 
and  homilist)  for  no  congregation  can  experience  the  security  of  a  unified 
celebration  if  that  unity  is  not  grasped  by  the  one  who  presides,  as  well  as 
by  those  who  have  special  roles.  It  should  include  those  with  the 

knowledge  and  artistic  skills  needed  in  celebration— men  and  women 
trained  in  music,  poetry,  and  art,  and  knowledge  in  current  resources  in 
these  areas— men  and  women  sensitive  to  the  present  day  thirst  of  so  many 
riches  of  scripture,  theology,  and  prayer.  It  is  always  good  to  include  some 
members  of  the  congregation  who  have  not  taken  special  roles  in  the 
celebrations  so  that  honest  evaluations  can  be  made. 

13.  The  planning  should  go  beyond  the  choosing  of  options,  songs,  and 
ministers  to  the  composition  of  such  texts  as  the  brief  introduction, 
general  intercessions,  and  other  appropriate  comments  as  provided  in  the 
General  Instruction  of  the  Roman  Missal.  The  manner  of  inviting  the 
people  to  join  in  a  particular  song  may  be  as  important  as  the  choice  of  the 
song  itself. 

14.  In  planning  pastoral  celebrations  the  congregation,  the  occasion,  and 
the  celebrant  must  be  taken  into  consideration. 

The  Congregation 

15.  "The  pastoral  effectiveness  of  a  celebration  depends  in  great  measure 
on  choosing  readings,  prayers,  and  songs  which  correspond  to  the  needs, 
spiritual  preparation,  and  attitudes  of  the  participants."3  A  type  of 
celebration  suitable  for  a  youth  group  may  not  fit  in  a  retirement  home;  a 
more  formal  style  effective  in  a  parish  church  may  be  inappropriate  in  a 
home  liturgy.  The  music  used  should  be  within  the  competence  of  most  of 
the  worshippers.  It  should  suit  their  age-level,  cultural  background,  and 
level  of  faith. 

16.  Variation  in  level  of  faith  raises  special  problems.  Liturgical 
celebration  presupposes  a  minimum  of  biblical  knowledge  and  a  deep 
commitment  of  living  faith.  Lacking  these  conditions,  the  liturgy  may  be 
forced  to  become  a  tool  of  evangelization.  Greater  liberty  in  the  choice  of 
music  and  style  of  celebration  may  be  required  as  the  participants  are  led 
toward  that  day  when  they  can  share  a  growing  faith  in  the  whole 
community.  Songs  like  the  psalms  may  create  rather  than  solve  problems 
where  faith  is  weak.  Music,  chosen  with  care,  can  serve  as  a  bridge  to  faith 
as  well  as  an  expression  of  it. 

17.  The  diversity  of  people  present  at  a  parish  liturgy  gives  rise  to  a 
further  problem.  Can  the  same  parish  liturgy  be  an  authentic  expression 
for  a  grade  school  girl,  her  college-age  brother,  their  married  sister  with  her 
young  family,  their  parents  and  grandparents?  Can  it  satisfy  the 
theologically  and  musically  educated  along  with  those  lacking  in  training? 


Can  it  please  those  who  seek  a  more  informal  style  of  celebration?  The 
planning  team  must  consider  the  general  makeup  of  the  total  community. 
Each  Christian  must  keep  in  mind  that  to  live  and  worship  in  community 
often  demands  a  personal  sacrifice.  Everyone  must  be  willing  to  share  likes 
and  dislikes  with  those  whose  ideas  and  experience  may  be  quite  unlike  his 

18.  Often  the  problem  of  diversity  can  be  mitigated  by  supplementing 
the  parish  Sunday  celebration  with  special  celebrations  for  smaller 
homogeneous  groups.  "The  need  of  the  faithful  of  a  particular  cultural 
background  or  of  a  particular  age  level  may  often  be  met  by  a  music  that 
can  serve  as  a  congenial,  liturgical  oriented  expression  of  prayer."4  The 
music  and  other  options  may  then  be  more  easily  suited  to  the  particular 
group  celebrating.  Nevertheless,  it  would  be  out  of  harmony  with  the 
Lord's  wish  for  unity  in  his  Church  if  believers  were  to  worship  only  in 
such  homogeneous  groupings.5  Celebration  in  such  groups,  "in  which  the 
genuine  sense  of  community  is  more  readily  experienced,  can  contribute 
significantly  to  growth  in  awareness  of  the  parish  as  community,  especially 
when  all  the  faithful  participate  in  the  parish  Mass  on  the  Lord's  day."6 

The  Occasion 

19.  The  same  congregation  will  want  to  celebrate  in  a  variety  of  ways. 
During  the  course  of  the  year  the  different  mysteries  of  redemption  are 
celebrated  at  Mass  so  that  in  some  way  they  are  made  present.7  Each  feast 
and  season  has  its  own  spirit  and  its  own  music.  The  penitential  occasions 
demand  more  restraint.  The  great  feasts  demand  more  solemnity. 
Solemnity,  however,  depends  less  on  the  ornateness  of  song  and 
magnificence  of  ceremonial  than  on  worthy  and  religious  celebration.8 

20.  Generally  a  congregation  or  choir  will  want  to  sing  more  on  the  great 
feasts  like  Christmas  and  Easter  and  less  in  the  season  through  the  year. 
Important  events  in  family  and  parish  life  will  suggest  fuller  programs  of 
song.  Sundays  will  be  celebrated  with  variety  but  always  as  befits  the  day 
of  the  Lord.  All  liturgies,  from  the  very  simple  to  the  most  ornate,  must  be 
truly  pastoral  and  prayerful. 

The  Celebrant 

21.  No  other  single  factor  affects  the  liturgy  as  much  as  the  attitude, 
style,  and  bearing  of  the  celebrant:  his  sincere  faith  and  warmth  as  he 


welcomes  the  worshipping  community;  his  human  naturalness  combined 
with  dignity  and  seriousness  as  he  breaks  the  Bread  of  Word  and  Eucharist. 

22.  The  style  and  pattern  of  song  ought  to  facilitate  the  effectiveness  of  a 
good  celebrant.  His  role  is  enhanced  when  he  is  capable  of  rendering  some 
of  his  parts  in  song  and  he  should  be  encouraged  to  do  so.  What  he  cannot 
sing  well  and  effectively  he  ought  to  recite.  If  capable  of  singing,  he  ought, 
for  the  sake  of  people,  to  rehearse  carefully  the  sung  parts  that  would 
contribute  to  their  celebration.9 

Music  Serves  the  Expression  of  Faith 

23.  Among  the  many  signs  and  symbols  used  by  the  Church  to  celebrate 
its  faith,  music  is  of  preeminent  importance.  As  sacred  song  united  to  the 
words  it  forms  an  integral  part  of  solemn  liturgy.10  Yet  the  function  of 
music  is  ministerial;  it  must  serve  and  never  dominate.  Music  should  assist 
the  assembled  believers  to  express  and  share  the  gift  of  faith  that  is  within 
them  and  to  nourish  and  strengthen  their  interior  commitment  of  faith.  It 
should  heighten  the  texts  so  that  they  speak  more  fully  and  more 
effectively.  The  quality  of  joy  and  enthusiasm  which  music  adds  to 
community  worship  cannot  be  gained  in  any  other  way.  It  imparts  a  sense 
of  unity  to  the  congregation  and  sets  the  appropriate  tone  for  a  particular 

24.  Music,  in  addition  to  expressing  texts,  can  also  unveil  a  dimension  of 
meaning  and  feeling,  a  communication  of  ideas  and  intuitions  which  words 
alone  cannot  yield.  This  dimension  is  integral  to  the  human  personality 
and  to  man's  growth  in  faith.  It  cannot  be  ignored  if  the  signs  of  worship 
are  to  speak  to  the  whole  person.  Ideally  every  communal  celebration  of 
faith,  including  funerals  and  the  sacraments  of  baptism,  confirmation, 
penance,  anointing  and  matrimony,  should  include  music  and  singing. 
Where  the  Liturgy  of  the  Hours  is  able  to  be  celebrated  in  a  community,  it 
too  should  include  music. 

Evaluation  of  Music  in  Celebration 

25.  To  determine  the  value  of  a  given  musical  element  in  a  liturgical 
celebration  a  threefold  judgment  must  be  made:  musical,  liturgical,  and 


The  Musical  Judgment 

26.  Is  the  music  technically,  aesthetically,  and  expressively  good?  This 
judgment  is  basic  and  primary  and  should  be  made  by  competent 
musicians.  Only  artistically  sound  music  will  be  effective  in  the  long  run. 
To  admit  the  cheap,  the  trite,  the  musical  cliche  often  found  in  popular 
songs  on  the  grounds  of  instant  liturgy  is  to  cheapen  the  liturgy,  to  expose 
it  to  ridicule,  and  to  invite  failure. 

27.  Musicians  must  search  for  and  create  music  of  quality  for  worship, 
especially  the  new  musical  settings  for  the  new  liturgical  texts.  They  must 
also  do  the  research  needed  to  find  new  uses  for  the  best  of  the  old  music. 
They  must  explore  the  repertory  of  good  music  used  in  other 
communions.  They  must  find  practical  means  of  preserving  and  using  our 
rich  heritage  of  Latin  chants  and  motets.1 1 

In  the  meantime,  however,  the  words  of  St.  Augustine  should  not  be 
forgotten:  "Do  not  allow  yourselves  to  be  offended  by  the  imperfect  while 
you  strive  for  the  perfect." 

28.  We  do  a  disservice  to  musical  values,  however,  when  we  confuse  the 
judgment  of  music  with  the  judgment  of  musical  style.  Style  and  value  are 
two  distinct  judgments.  Good  music  of  new  styles  is  finding  a  happy  home 
in  the  celebrations  of  today.  To  chant  and  polyphony  we  have  effectively 
added  the  chorale  hymn,  restored  responsorial  singing  to  some  extent,  and 
employed  many  styles  of  contemporary  composition.  Music  in  folk  idiom 
is  finding  acceptance  in  eucharistic  celebrations.  We  must  judge  value 
within  each  style. 

"In  modern  times  the  Church  has  consistently  recognized  and  freely 
admitted  the  use  of  various  styles  of  music  as  an  aid  to  liturgical  worship. 
Since  the  promulgation  of  the  Constitution  on  the  Liturgy  and  more 
especially  since  the  introduction  of  vernacular  languages  into  the  liturgy, 
there  has  arisen  a  more  pressing  need  for  musical  compositions  in  idioms 
that  can  be  sung  by  the  congregation  and  thus  further  communal 
participation."1 2 

29.  The  musician  has  every  right  to  insist  that  the  music  be  good.  But 
although  all  liturgical  music  should  be  good  music,  not  all  good  music  is 
suitable  to  the  liturgy.  The  musical  judgment  is  basic  but  not  final.  There 
remains  the  liturgical  and  pastoral  judgments. 


The  Liturgical  Judgment 

30.  The  nature  of  the  liturgy  itself  will  help  to  determine  what  kind  of 
music  is  called  for,  what  parts  are  to  be  preferred  for  singing  and  who  is  to 
sing  them. 

Structural  Requirements 

31.  The  choice  of  sung  parts,  the  balance  between  them  and  the  style  of 
musical  setting  used  should  reflect  the  relative  importance  of  the  parts  of 
the  Mass  (or  other  service)  and  the  nature  of  each  part.  Thus  elaborate 
settings  of  the  entrance  song,  "Lord  have  Mercy"  and  "Glory  to  God" 
may  make  the  proclamation  of  the  word  seem  unimportant;  and  overly 
elaborate  offertory  song  with  a  spoken  "Holy,  Holy,  Holy  Lord"  may 
make  the  eucharistic  prayer  seem  less  important. 

Textual  Requirements 

32.  Does  the  music  express  and  interpret  the  text  correctly  and  make  it 
more  meaningful?  Is  the  form  of  the  text  respected?  In  making  these 
judgments  the  principal  classes  of  texts  must  be  kept  in  mind: 
proclamations,  acclamations,  psalms  and  hymns,  and  prayers.  Each  has  a 
specific  function  which  must  be  served  by  the  music  chosen  for  a  text. 

In  most  instances  there  is  an  official  liturgical  text  approved  by  the 
episcopal  conference.  "Vernacular  texts  set  to  music  composed  in  earlier 
periods,"  however,  "may  be  used  in  liturgical  texts."13  As  noted 
elsewhere,  criteria  have  been  provided  for  the  texts  which  may  replace  the 
processional  chants  of  Mass.  In  these  cases  and  in  the  choice  of  all 
supplementary  music,  the  texts  "must  always  be  in  conformity  with 
Catholic  doctrine;  indeed  they  should  be  drawn  chiefly  from  holy 
scripture  and  from  liturgical  sources."14 

Role  Differentiation 

33.  "In  liturgical  celebrations  each  person,  minister  or  layman,  who  has 
an  office  to  perform,  should  do  all  of,  but  only,  those  parts  which  pertain 
to  his  office  by  the  nature  of  the  rite  and  the  principles  of  liturgy."15 
Special  musical  concern  must  be  given  to  the  roles  of  the  congregation,  the 
cantor,  the  choir  and  the  instrumentalists. 


The  Congregation 

34.  Music  for  the  congregation  must  be  within  the  performance  ability  of 
the  members  of  the  congregation.  The  congregation  must  be  comfortable 
and  secure  with  what  they  are  doing  in  order  to  celebrate  well. 

The  Cantor 

35.  While  there  is  no  place  in  the  liturgy  for  display  of  virtuosity  for  its 
own  sake,  artistry  is  valued,  and  an  individual  singer  can  effectively  lead 
the  assembly,  attractively  proclaim  the  Word  of  God  in  the  psalm  sung 
between  the  readings  and  take  his  part  in  other  responsorial  singing. 
"Provision  should  be  made  for  at  least  one  or  two  properly  trained  singers, 
especially  where  there  is  no  possibility  of  setting  up  even  a  small  choir." 
The  singer  will  present  some  simpler  musical  setting,  with  the  people 
taking  part,  and  can  lead  and  support  the  faithful  as  far  as  is  needed.  The 
presence  of  such  a  singer  is  desirable  even  in  churches  which  have  a  choir 
for  those  celebrations  in  which  the  choir  cannot  take  part,  but  which  may 
fittingly  be  performed  with  some  solemnity  and  therefore  with  singing."16 
Although  a  cantor  "cannot  enhance  the  service  of  worship  in  the  same  way 
as  a  choir,  a  trained  and  competent  cantor  can  perform  an  important 
ministry  by  leading  the  congregation  in  common  sacred  song  and  in 
responsorial  singing."17 

The  Choir 

36.  A  well-trained  choir  adds  beauty  and  solemnity  to  the  liturgy  and 
also  assists  and  encourages  the  singing  of  the  congregation.  The  Second 
Vatican  Council,  in  speaking  of  the  choir,  stated  emphatically:  "Choirs 
must  be  diligently  promoted"  provided  that  "the  whole  body  of  the 
faithful  may  be  able  to  contribute  that  active  participation  which  is  rightly 

"At  times  the  choir,  within  the  congregation  of  the  faithful  and  as 
part  of  it,  will  assume  the  role  of  leadership,  while  at  other  times  it  will 
retain  its  own  distinctive  ministry.  This  means  that  the  choir  will  lead  the 
people  in  sung  prayer,  by  alternating  or  reinforcing  the  sacred  song  of  the 
congregation,  or  by  enhancing  it  with  the  addition  of  a  musical 
elaboration.  At  other  times  in  the  course  of  liturgical  celebration,  the  choir 
alone  will  sing  works  whose  musical  demands  enlist  and  challenge  its 


The  Organist  and  Other  Instrumentalists 

37.  Singing  is  not  the  only  kind  of  music  suitable  for  liturgical 
celebration.  Music  performed  on  the  organ  and  other  instruments  can 
stimulate  feelings  of  joy  and  contemplation  at  appropriate  times.20  This 
can  be  done  effectively  at  the  following  points:  an  instrumental  prelude,  a 
soft  background  to  a  spoken  psalm,  at  the  preparation  of  the  gifts  in  place 
of  singing,  during  portions  of  the  communion  rite,  and  the  recessional. 

In  the  dioceses  of  the  United  States,  "musical  instruments  other  than 
the  organ  may  be  used  in  liturgical  services,  provided  they  are  played  in  a 
manner  that  is  suitable  to  public  worship."21  This  decision  deliberately 
refrains  from  singling  out  specific  instruments.  Their  use  depends  on 
circumstances,  the  nature  of  the  congregation,  etc. 

38.  The  proper  placing  of  the  organ  and  choir  according  to  the 
arrangement  and  acoustics  of  the  church  will  facilitate  celebration. 
Practically  speaking,  the  choir  must  be  near  the  director  and  the  organ 
(both  console  and  sound).  The  choir  ought  to  be  able  to  perform  without 
too  much  distraction;  the  acoustics  ought  to  give  a  lively  presence  of 
sound  in  the  choir  area  and  allow  both  tone  and  word  to  reach  the 
congregation  with  clarity.  Visually  it  is  desirable  that  the  choir  appear  to 
be  part  of  the  worshipping  community,  yet  a  part  which  serves  in  a  unique 
way.  Locating  the  organ  console  too  far  from  the  congregation  causes  a 
time  lag  which  tends  to  make  the  singing  drag  unless  the  organist  is  trained 
to  cope  with  it.  A  location  near  the  front  pews  will  facilitate 
congregational  singing. 

The  Pastoral  Judgment 

39.  The  pastoral  judgment  governs  the  use  and  function  of  every  element 
of  celebration.  Ideally  this  judgment  is  made  by  the  planning  team  or 
committee.  It  is  the  judgment  that  must  be  made  in  this  particular 
situation,  in  these  concrete  circumstances.  Does  music  in  the  celebration 
enable  these  people  to  express  their  faith,  in  this  place,  in  this  age,  in  this 

40.  The  instruction  of  the  Congregation  for  Divine  Worship,  issued 
September  5,  1971,  encourage  episcopal  conferences  to  consider  not  only 
liturgical  music's  suitability  to  the  time  and  circumstances  of  the 
celebration,  "but  also  the  needs  of  the  faithful  who  will  sing  them.  All 
means  must  be  used  to  promote  singing  by  the  people.  New  forms  should 


be  used,  which  are  adapted  to  the  different  mentalities  and  to  modern 
tastes."  The  document  adds  that  the  music  and  the  instruments  "should 
correspond  to  the  sacred  character  of  the  celebration  and  the  place  of 

41.  A  musician  may  judge  that  a  certain  composition  or  style  of 
composition  is  good  music  but  his  musical  judgment  really  says  nothing 
about  whether  and  how  this  music  is  to  be  used  in  this  celebration.  The 
signs  of  the  celebration  must  be  accepted  and  received  as  meaningful  for  a 
genuinely  human  faith  experience  for  these  specific  worshippers.  This 
pastoral  judgment  can  be  aided  by  sociological  studies  of  the  people  who 
make  up  the  congregation:  their  age,  culture,  and  education.  These  factors 
influence  the  effectiveness  of  the  liturgical  signs,  including  music.  No  set 
of  rubrics  or  regulations  of  itself  will  ever  achieve  a  truly  pastoral 
celebration  of  the  sacramental  rites.  Such  regualtions  must  always  be 
applied  with  a  pastoral  concern  for  the  given  worshipping  community. 


42.  Those  who  are  responsible  for  planning  the  music  for  eucharistic 
celebrations  in  accord  with  the  three  judgments  above  must  have  a  clear 
understanding  of  the  structure  of  the  liturgy.  They  must  be  aware  of  what 
is  the  primary  importance.  They  should  know  the  nature  of  each  of  the 
parts  of  the  liturgy  and  the  relationship  of  each  part  to  the  overall  rhythm 
of  the  liturgical  action. 

43.  The  Mass  is  made  up  of  the  liturgy  of  the  word  and  the  liturgy  of  the 
Eucharist.  These  two  parts  are  so  closely  connected  as  to  form  one  act  of 
worship.  The  table  of  the  Lord  is  the  table  of  God's  Word  and  Christ's 
Body,  and  from  it  the  faithful  are  instructed  and  refreshed.  In  addition, 
the  Mass  has  introductory  and  concluding  rites.22  The  introductory  and 
concluding  rites  are  secondary. 

The  Introductory  Rites 

44.  The  parts  preceding  the  liturgy  of  the  word,  namely,  the  entrance, 
greeting,  penitential  rite,  Kyrie,  Gloria,  and  opening  prayer  or  collect,  have 
the  character  of  introduction  and  preparation.  The  purpose  of  these  rites  is 
to  help  the  assembled  people  become  a  worshipping  community  and  to 
prepare  them  for  listening  to  God's  Word  and  celebrating  the  Eucharist.23 
Of  these  parts  the  entrance  song  and  the  opening  prayer  are  primary.  All 
else  is  secondary. 


If  Mass  begins  with  the  sprinkling  of  the  people  with  blessed  water, 
the  penitential  rite  is  omitted;  this  may  be  done  at  all  Sunday  Masses.24 
Similarly,  if  the  psalms  of  part  of  the  Liturgy  of  the  Hours  precede  Mass, 
the  introductory  rite  is  abbreviated  in  accord  with  the  General  Instruction 
on  the  office  of  prayer.2  5 

The  Liturgy  of  the  Word 

AS.  Readings  from  scripture  are  the  heart  of  the  liturgy  of  the  word.  The 
homiiy,  responsorial  psalms,  profession  of  faith,  and  general  intercessions 
develop  and  complete  it.  In  the  readings,  God  speaks  to  his  people  and 
nourishes  their  spirit;  Christ  is  present  through  his  word.  The  homily 
explains  the  readings.  The  chants  and  the  profession  of  faith  comprise  the 
people's  acceptance  of  God's  Word.  It  is  of  primary  importance  that  the 
people  hear  God's  message  of  love,  digest  it  with  the  aid  of  psalms,  silence, 
and  the  homily,  and  respond,  involving  themselves  in  the  great  covenant  of 
love  and  redemption.  All  else  is  secondary. 

The  Preparation  of  the  Gifts 

46.  The  eucharistic  prayer  is  preceded  by  the  preparation  of  the  gifts. 
The  purpose  of  the  rite  is  to  prepare  bread  and  wine  for  the  sacrifice.  The 
secondary  character  of  the  rite  determines  the  manner  of  the  celebration. 
It  consists  very  simply  of  bringing  the  gifts  to  the  altar,  possibly 
accompanied  by  song,  prayers  to  be  said  by  the  celebrant  as  he  prepares 
the  gifts,  and  the  prayer  over  the  gifts.  Of  these  elements  the  bringing  of 
the  gifts,  the  placing  of  the  gifts  on  the  altar,  and  the  prayer  over  the  gifts 
are  primary.  All  else  is  secondary. 

The  Eucharistic  Prayer 

47.  The  eucharistic  prayer,  a  prayer  of  thanksgiving  and  sanctification,  is 
the  center  of  the  entire  celebration.  By  an  introductory  dialogue  the  priest 
invites  the  people  to  lift  their  hearts  to  God  in  praise  and  thanks;  he  unites 
them  with  himself  in  the  prayer  he  addresses  in  their  name  to  the  Father 
through  Jesus  Christ.  The  meaning  of  the  prayer  is  that  the  whole 
congregation  joins  Christ  in  acknowledging  the  works  of  God  and  offering 
the  sacrifice.26  As  a  statement  of  the  faith  of  the  local  assembly  it  is 
affirmed  and  ratified  by  all  those  present  through  acclamations  of  faith: 
the  first  acclamation  or  Sanctus,  the  memorial  acclamation,  and  the  Great 

The  Communion  Rite 

48.  The  eating  and  drinking  of  the  Body  and  Blood  of  the  Lord  in  a 


paschal  meal  is  the  climax  of  our  eucharistic  celebration.  It  is  prepared  for 
by  several  rites:  the  Lord's  Prayer  with  embolism  and  doxology,  the  rite  of 
peace,  breaking  of  bread  (and  commingling)  during  the  "Lamb  of  God," 
private  preparation  of  the  priest  and  showing  of  the  eucharistic  bread.  The 
eating  and  drinking  is  accompanied  by  a  song  expressing  the  unity  of 
communicants  and  is  followed  by  a  time  of  prayer  after  communion.27 
Those  elements  are  primary  which  show  forth  signs  that  the  first  fruit  of 
the  Eucharist  is  the  unity  of  the  Body  of  Christ,  Christians  loving  Christ 
through  loving  one  another.  The  principal  texts  to  accompany  or  express 
the  sacred  action  are  the  Lord's  Prayer,  the  song  during  the  communion 
procession,  and  the  prayer  after  communion. 

The  Concluding  Rite 

49.  The  concluding  rite  consists  of  the  priest's  greeting  and  blessing, 
which  is  sometimes  expanded  by  the  prayer  over  the  people  or  another 
solemn  form,  and  the  dismissal  which  sends  each  member  of  the 
congregation  to  do  good  works,  praising  and  blessing  the  Lord.28 

A  recessional  song  is  optional.  The  greeting,  blessing,  dismissal,  and 
recessional  song  or  instrumental  music  ideally  form  one  continuous  action 
which  may  culminate  in  the  priest's  personal  greetings  and  conversations  at 
the  church  door. 


General  Considerations 

50.  Many  and  varied  musical  patterns  are  now  possible  within  the 
liturgical  structure.  Musicians  and  composers  need  to  respond  creatively 
and  responsibly  to  the  challenge  of  developing  new  music  for  today's 

51.  While  it  is  possible  to  make  technical  distinctions  in  the  forms  of 
Mass— all  the  way  from  the  Mass  in  which  nothing  is  sung  to  the  Mass  in 
which  everything  is  sung— such  distinctions  are  of  little  significance  in 
themselves;  almost  unlimited  combinations  of  sung  and  recited  parts  may 
be  chosen.  The  important  decision  is  whether  or  not  this  or  that  part  may 
or  should  be  sung  in  this  particular  celebration  and  under  these  specific 
circumstances.29  The  former  distinction  between  the  ordinary  and  proper 
parts  of  the  Mass  with  regard  to  musical  settings  and  distribution  of  roles  is 
no  longer  retained.  For  this  reason  the  musical  settings  of  the  past  are 
usually  not  helpful  models  for  composing  truly  liturgical  contemporary 


52.  Two  patterns  used  to  serve  as  foundation  for  the  creating  and 
planning  of  liturgy:  One  was  "High  Mass"  with  its  five  movements,  sung 
Ordinary  and  fourfold  sung  Proper.  The  other  was  the  four-hymn  "Low 
Mass"  format  that  grew  out  of  the  Instruction  on  Sacred  Music  of  1958. 
The  four-hymn  pattern  developed  in  the  context  of  a  Latin  Mass  which 
could  accommodate  song  in  the  vernacular  only  at  certain  points.  It  is  now 
outdated  and  the  Mass  has  more  than  a  dozen  parts  that  may  be  sung  as 
well  as  numerous  options  for  the  celebrant.  Each  of  these  parts  must  be 
understood  according  to  its  proper  nature  and  function. 

Specific  Applications 
The  Acclamations 

53.  The  acclamations  are  shouts  of  joy  which  arise  from  the  whole 
assembly  as  forceful  and  meaningful  assents  to  God's  Word  and  Action. 
They  are  important  because  they  make  some  of  the  most  significant 
moments  of  the  Mass  (gospel,  eucharistic  prayer,  Lord's  Prayer)  stand  out. 
It  is  of  their  nature  that  they  be  rhythmically  strong,  melodically 
appealing,  and  affirmative.  The  people  should  know  the  acclamations  by 
heart  in  order  to  sing  them  spontaneously.  Some  variety  is  recommended 
and  even  imperative. The  challenge  to  the  composer  and  people  alike  is  one 
of  variety  without  confusion. 

54.  In  the  eucharistic  celebration  there  are  five  acclamations  which  ought 
to  be  sung  even  at  Masses  in  which  little  else  is  sung:  Alleluia;  "Holy,  Holy, 
Holy  Lord;"  Memorial  Acclamation;  Great  Amen;  Doxology  to  the  Lord's 

The  Alleluia 

55.  This  acclamation  of  paschal  joy  is  both  a  reflection  upon  the  Word  of 
God  proclaimed  in  the  Liturgy  and  a  preparation  for  the  gospel.  All  stand 
to  sing  it.  After  the  cantor  or  choir  sings  the  alleluia(s),  the  people 
customarily  repeat  it.  Then  a  single  proper  verse  is  sung  by  the  cantor  or 
choir,  and  all  repeat  the  alleluia(s).  If  not  sung,  the  alleluia  may  be 
omitted.30  In  its  place  a  moment  of  silent  reflection  may  be  observed. 
During  Lent  a  brief  verse  of  acclamatory  character  replaces  the  alleluia  and 
is  sung  in  the  same  way. 

''Holy,  Holy,  Holy  Lord" 

56.  This  is  the  people's  acclamation  of  praise  concluding  the  preface  of 
the  eucharistic  prayer.  We  join  the  whole  communion  of  saints  in 


acclaiming  the  Lord.  Settings  which  add  harmony  or  descants  on  solemn 
feasts  and  occasions  are  appropriate,  but  since  this  chant  belongs  to  priest 
and  people,  the  choir  parts  must  facilitate  and  make  effective  the  people's 

The  Memorial  Acclamations 

57.  We  support  one  another's  faith  in  the  paschal  mystery,  the  central 
mystery  of  our  belief.  This  acclamation  is  properly,  a  memorial  of  the 
Lord's  suffering  and  glorification  with  an  expression  of  faith  in  his  coming, 
but  variety  in  text  and  music  is  desirable. 

The  Great  Amen 

58.  The  worshippers  assent  to  the  eucharistic  prayer  and  make  it  their 
own  in  the  Great  Amen.  To  be  most  effective,  the  Amen  may  be  repeated 
or  augmented.  Choirs  may  harmonize  and  expand  upon  the  people's 

Do xo logy  to  the  Lord's  Prayer 

59.  These  words  of  praise,  "For  the  Kingdom,  the  power  and  the  glory  is 
yours,  now  and  forever,"  are  fittingly  sung  by  all  especially  when  the 
Lord's  Prayer  is  sung.  Here  too  the  choir  may  enhance  the  acclamation 
with  harmony. 

The  Processional  Songs 

60.  The  two  processional  chants— the  entrance  song  and  the  communion 
song— are  very  important  for  a  sense  of  awareness  of  community.  Proper 
antiphons  are  given  to  be  used  with  appropriate  psalm  verses.  These  may 
be  replaced  by  the  chants  of  the  Simple  Gradual ',  by  other  psalms  and 
antiphons,  or  by  other  fitting  songs.3 1 

The  entrance  song 

61.  The  entrance  song  should  create  an  atmosphere  of  celebration.  It 
serves  the  function  of  putting  the  assembly  in  the  proper  frame  of  mind 
for  listening  to  the  Word  of  God.  It  helps  people  to  become  conscious  of 
themselves  as  a  worshipping  community.  The  choice  of  texts  for  the 
entrance  song  should  not  conflict  with  these  purposes.  In  general,  during 
the  most  important  seasons  of  the  Church  year,  Easter,  Lent,  Christmas 
and  Advent,  it  is  preferable  that  most  songs  used  at  the  entrance  be 
seasonal  in  nature.32 


The  communion  song 

62.  The  communion  should  foster  a  sense  of  unity.  It  should  be  simple 
and  not  demand  great  effort.  It  gives  expression  to  the  joy  of  unity  in  the 
body  of  Christ  and  the  fulfillment  of  the  mystery  being  celebrated.  Most 
benediction  hymns,  by  reason  of  their  concentration  on  adoration  rather 
than  on  communion,  are  not  acceptable.  In  general,  during  the  most 
important  seasons  of  the  Church  year,  Easter,  Lent,  Christmas,  and 
Advent,  it  is  preferable  that  most  songs  used  at  the  communion  be 
seasonal  in  nature.  During  the  remainder  of  the  Church  year,  however, 
topical  songs  may  be  used  during  the  communion  procession,  provided 
these  texts  do  not  conflict  with  the  paschal  character  of  every  Sunday."33 

Responsorial  Psalms 

63.  This  unique  and  very  important  song  is  the  response  to  the  first 
lesson.  The  new  lectionary  lists  900  refrains  in  its  determination  to  match 
the  content  of  the  psalms  to  the  theme  of  reading.  The  liturgy  of  the  Word 
comes  to  life  if  between  the  first  two  readings  a  cantor  sings  the  psalm  and 
all  sing  the  response.  Since  most  groups  cannot  learn  a  new  response  every 
week,  seasonal  refrains  are  offered  in  the  lectionary  itself  and  in  the 
Simple  Gradual.  Other  psalms  and  refrains  may  also  be  used,  including 
psalms  arranged  in  responsorial  form,  metrical  and  similar  versions  of 
psalms,  provided  they  are  used  in  accordance  with  the  principles  of  the 
Simple  Gradual  and  are  selected  in  harmony  with  the  liturgical  season, 
feast  or  occasion.  The  choice  of  the  texts  which  are  not  from  the  psalter  is 
not  extended  to  the  chants  between  the  readings.34  To  facilitate 
reflection,  there  may  be  a  brief  period  of  silence  between  the  first  reading 
and  the  responsorial  psalm. 

Ordinary  Chants 

64.  The  fourth  category  is  the  ordinary  chants  which  now  may  be  treated 
as  individual  choices.  One  or  more  may  be  sung,  the  others  spoken.  The 
pattern  may  vary  according  to  the  circumstances.  These  chants  are  as 

Lord  have  mercy 

65.  This  short  litany  was  traditionally  a  prayer  of  praise  to  the  risen 
Christ.  He  has  been  raised  and  made  "Lord"  and  we  beg  him  to  show  his 
loving  kindness.  The  sixfold  Kyrie  of  the  new  Order  of  Mass  may  be  sung 


in  other  ways,  for  example,  as  a  ninefold  chant.35  It  may  also  be 
incorporated  in  the  penitential  rite,  with  invocations  addressed  to  Christ. 
When  sung,  the  setting  should  be  brief  and  simple  so  as  not  to  give  undue 
importance  to  the  introductory  rites. 

"Glory  to  God" 

66.  This  ancient  hymn  of  praise  is  now  given  in  a  new  poetic  and  singable 
translation.  It  may  be  introduced  by  celebrant,  cantor  or  choir.  The 
restricted  use  of  the  Gloria,  i.e.,  only  on  Sundays  outside  Advent  and  Lent 
and  on  solemnities  and  feasts, 36  emphasizes  its  special  and  solemn 
character.  The  new  text  offers  many  opportunities  for  alternation  of  choir 
and  people  in  poetic  parallelisms.  The  "Glory  to  God"  also  provides  an 
opportunity  for  the  choir  to  sing  alone  on  festive  occasions. 

Lord's  Prayer 

67.  This  prayer  begins  our  immediate  preparation  for  sharing  in  the 
Paschal  Banquet.  The  traditional  text  is  retained  and  may  be  set  to  music 
by  composers  with  the  same  freedom  as  other  parts  of  the  Ordinary.  All 
settings  must  provide  for  the  participation  of  the  priest  and  all  present. 

"Lamb  of  God" 

68.  The  Agnus  Dei,  is  a  litany-song  to  accompany  the  breaking  of  the 
bread,  in  preparation  for  communion.  The  invocation  and  response  may  be 
repeated  as  the  action  demands.  The  final  response  is  always  "grant  us 
peace."  Unlike  the  "Holy,  Holy,  Holy  Lord,"  and  the  Lord's  Prayer,  the 
"Lamb  of  God"  is  not  necessarily  a  song  of  the  people.  Hence  it  may  be 
sung  by  the  choir,  though  the  people  should  generally  make  the  response. 

Profession  of  Faith 

69.  This  is  a  communal  profession  of  faith  in  which  ".  .  .  the  people  who 
have  heard  the  Word  of  God  in  the  lesson  and  in  the  homily  may  assent 
and  respond  to  it,  and  may  renew  in  themselves  the  rule  of  faith  as  they 
begin  to  celebrate  the  Eucharist."3 7  It  is  usually  preferable  that  the  Creed 
be  spoken  in  declamatory  fashion  rather  than  sung.  If  it  is  sung,  it  might 
more  effectively  take  the  form  of  a  simple  musical  declamation  rather  than 
that  of  an  extensive  and  involved  musical  structure. 


Supplementary  Songs 

70.  This  category  includes  songs  for  which  there  are  no  specified  texts 
nor  any  requirement  that  there  should  be  a  spoken  or  sung  text.  Here  the 
choir  may  play  a  fuller  role  for  there  is  no  question  of  usurping  the 
people's  parts.  This  category  includes  the  following: 

The  Offertory  Song 

71.  The  offertory  song  may  accompany  the  procession  and  preparation 
of  the  gifts.  It  is  not  always  necessary  or  desirable.  Organ  or  instrumental 
music  is  also  fitting  at  the  time.  When  song  is  used  it  is  to  be  noted  that 
the  song  need  not  speak  of  bread  and  wine  or  of  offering.  The  proper 
function  of  this  song  is  to  accompany  and  celebrate  the  communal  aspects 
of  the  procession.  The  text,  therefore,  can  be  any  appropriate  song  of 
praise  or  of  rejoicing  in  keeping  with  the  season.  The  antiphons  of  the 
Roman  Gradual,  not  included  in  the  new  Roman  Missal,  may  be  used  with 
psalm  vocals.  Instrumental  interludes  can  effectively  accompany  the 
procession  of  preparation  of  the  gifts  and  thus  keep  this  part  of  the  Mass 
in  proper  perspective  relative  to  the  eucharistic  prayer  which  follows. 

The  Psalm  or  Song  after  Communion 

72.  The  singing  of  a  psalm  or  hymn  of  praise  after  the  distribution  of 
communion  is  optional.  If  the  organ  is  played  or  the  choir  sings  during  the 
distribution  of  communion,  a  congregational  song  may  well  provide  a 
fitting  expression  of  oneness  in  the  Eucharistic  Lord.  Since  no  particular 
text  is  specified,  there  is  ample  room  for  creativity. 

The  Recessional  Song 

73.  The  recessional  song  has  never  been  an  official  part  of  the  rite; 
hence  musicians  are  free  to  plan  music  which  provides  an  appropriate 
closing  to  the  liturgy.  A  song  is  one  possible  choice.  However,  if  the 
people  have  sung  a  song  after  communion,  it  may  be  advisable  to  use  only 
an  instrumental  or  choir  recessional. 


74.  Litanies  are  often  more  effective  when  sung.  The  repetition  of 
melody  and  rhythm  draws  the  people  together  in  a  strong  and  unified 
response.  In  addition  to  the  "Lamb  of  God,"  already  mentioned,  the 


general  intercessions  (prayer  of  the  faithful)  offer  an  opportunity  for 
litanical  singing,  as  do  the  invocations  of  Christ  in  the  penitential  rite. 

Progress  and  New  Directions 

75.  Many  new  patterns  and  combinations  of  song  are  emerging  in 
eucharistic  celebrations.  Congregations  most  frequently  sing  an  entrance 
song,  alleluia,  "Holy,  Holy,  Holy  Lord,"  memorial  acclamation, Great 
Amen,  and  a  song  at  communion  (or  a  song  after  communion).  Other  parts 
are  added  in  varying  quantities,  depending  on  season,  degree  of  solemnity 
and  musical  resources.  Choirs  often  add  one  or  more  of  the  following:  a 
song  before  Mass,  an  Offertory  song,  the  "Glory  to  God"  on  special 
occasions,  additional  communion  songs  or  a  song  after  communion  or  a 
recessional.  They  may  also  enhance  the  congregationally  sung  entrance 
song  and  acclamations  with  descants,  harmony,  and  antiphonal  arrange- 
ments. Harmony  is  desirable  when  it  gives  breadth  and  power  to  the  unison 
voice  of  people  without  confusing  them. 

76.  Flexibility  reigns  supreme.  The  musician  with  a  sense  of  artistry  and  a 
deep  knowledge  of  the  rhythm  of  the  liturgical  action  will  be  able  to 
combine  the  many  options  into  an  effective  whole.  For  the  composer  and 
performer  alike  there  is  an  unprecedented  challenge.  He  must  enhance  the 
liturgy  with  new  creations  of  variety  and  richness  and  with  those 
compositions  from  the  time-honored  treasury  of  liturgical  music  which  can 
still  serve  today's  celebrations.  Like  the  wise  householder  in  Matthew's 
Gospel,  the  church  musician  must  be  one  "who  can  produce  from  his  store 
both  the  new  and  the  old." 

77.  The  Church  in  the  United  States  today  needs  the  services  of  many 
qualified  musicians  as  song  leaders,  organists,  instrumentalists,  cantors, 
choir  directors,  and  composers.  We  have  been  blessed  with  many  generous 
musicians  who  have  given  years  of  service  even  with  meager  financial 
compensation.  In  order  that  the  art  may  grow  and  face  the  challenges  of 
today  and  tomorrow  every  diocese  and  parish  should  establish  policies  for 
hiring  and  paying  living  wages  to  competent  musicians.  Full-time  musicians 
employed  by  the  Church  ought  to  be  on  the  same  salary  scale  as  teachers 
with  similar  qualifications  and  workloads.39 

78.  Likewise,  in  order  that  composers  and  publishers  receive  just 
compensation  for  their  work,  those  engaged  in  parish  music  programs  and 
those  responsible  for  budgets  must  often  be  reminded  that  it  is  illegal  and 
immoral  to  reproduce  by  any  means  either  text  or  music  both  of 


copyrighted  materials  without  written  permission  of  the  copyright  owner. 
The  fact  that  these  duplicated  materials  are  not  for  sale  but  for  private  use 
does  not  alter  the  legal  or  moral  situation  of  the  practice.40 


79.  While  music  has  traditionally  been  part  of  the  celebration  of 
weddings,  funerals  and  confirmation,  the  communal  celebration  of 
baptism,  anointing  and  penance  is  only  recently  restored.  The  renewed 
rituals,  following  the  Constitution  on  the  Sacred  Liturgy,  provide  for  and 
encourage  communal  celebrations,  which  according  to  the  capabilities  of 
the  congregation,  should  involve  song.41 

80.  The  rite  of  baptism  is  best  begun  by  an  entrance  song;42  the  liturgy 
of  the  word  is  enhanced  by  a  sung  psalm  and/or  alleluia.  Where  the 
processions  to  and  from  the  place  of  the  liturgy  of  the  word  and  the 
baptistry  take  some  time,  they  should  be  accompanied  by  music.  Above 
all,  the  acclamations— the  affirmation  of  faith  by  the  people,  the 
acclamation  immediately  after  the  baptism,  the  acclamation  upon 
completion  of  the  rite— should  be  sung  by  the  whole  congregation. 

81.  Whenever  rites  like  the  anointing  of  the  sick  or  the  sacrament  of 
penance  are  celebrated  communally,  music  is  important.  The  general 
structure  is  introductory  rite,  liturgy  of  the  word,  sacrament  and  dismissal. 
The  introductory  rite  and  liturgy  of  the  word  follow  the  pattern  of  the 
Mass.  At  the  time  of  the  sacrament  an  acclamation  or  song  by  all  the 
people  is  desirable. 

82.  Confirmation  and  marriage  are  most  often  celebrated  within  a  Mass. 
The  norms  given  above  pertain.  Great  care  should  be  taken,  especially  at 
marriages,  that  all  the  people  are  involved  at  the  important  moments  of 
the  celebration,  that  the  same  general  principles  of  planning  worship  and 
judging  music  are  employed  as  at  other  liturgies,  and  above  all,  that  the 
liturgy  is  a  prayer  for  all  present,  not  a  theatrical  production. 

83.  Music  becomes  particularly  important  in  the  new  burial  rites.  Without 
it  the  themes  of  hope  and  resurrection  are  very  difficult  to  express.  The 
entrance  song,  the  acclamations,  and  the  song  of  farewell  or 
commendation  are  of  primary  importance  for  the  whole  congregation.  The 
choral  and  instrumental  music  should  fit  the  paschal  mystery  theme. 



84.  We  find  today  a  vital  interest  in  the  Mass  as  prayer  and  here  lies  the 
principle  of  synthesis.  When  everyone  with  one  accord  strives  to  make  the 
Mass  a  prayer,  a  sharing  and  celebration  of  Faith,  then  there  will  be 
unity— many  styles  of  music,  a  broad  choice  of  instruments,  a  wide  variety 
of  forms  of  celebration,  but  a  single  purpose:  that  men  of  faith  may 
proclaim  and  share  that  faith  in  prayer  and  that  Christ  may  grow  among 



1  Second  Vatican  Council,  Constitution  on  the  Liturgy  (=CSL),  No.  34. 

2Congregation  of  Rites,  Instruction  on  Music  in  the  Liturgy,  March  5,  1967,  no.  5e;  Roman 
Missal ,  Genera!  Instruction  (=GI),  No.  73. 

3GI  No.  313. 

4  Bishops' Committee  on  the  Liturgy  (=BCL),  April  18,  1966. 

5 Congregation  for  Divine  Worship  (=CDW),  Instruction  on  Mass  for  Special  Gatherings, 
May  15,  1969. 

6BCL,  February  17,  1967. 

7GI  No.  1;cf.  CSL  No.  102. 

8  Instruction  on  Music  in  the  Liturgy,  No.  1 1 . 

9 Ibid.,  No.  8. 
10Cf.  CSL,  No.  112. 
MCf.  CSL,  No.  114. 
12BCL,  April  18,  1966. 

13  National  Conference  of  Catholic  Bishops  (=NCCB),  November,  1967. 
14CSL,No.  121. 
15CSL,  No.  28. 

16  Instruction  on  Music  in  the  Liturgy,  No.  21 . 
17BCL,  April  18,  1966. 
18CSL,  No.  114. 
19BCL,  Aprii  18,  1966. 

20Cf.  CSL,  No.  120;  Instruction  on  Music  in  the  Liturgy,  Nos.  63-65;  CDW  Third 
Instruction,  September  5,  1970,  No.  3c. 

2  ^CCB,  November  1967;  cf.  CSL  No.  120. 

22GI,  No.  8. 

23GI,No.  24. 

24Cf.  Roman  Missal,  Blessing  and  Sprinkling  of  Holy  Water,  No.  1 . 
25  Liturgy  of  the  Hours,  General  Instruction,  Nos.  93-98. 
26GI,No.  54. 
27Gi,  No.  56. 
28GI,No.  57. 

29Gi,  No.  19,  cf.  Instruction  on  Music  in  the  Liturgy,  Nos.  28  and  36. 

30GI,No.  39. 


32 NCCB,  November  1969. 

33  Ibid. 

34NCCB,  November  1968;  cf.  Gi,  No.  6. 
35Cf.GI,No.  30. 
36GI,  No.  31. 
37GI,No.  43. 

38NCCB,  November  1967. 
39BCL,  April  18,  1966. 
40BCL,  April  1969. 
41Cf.  CSL,  No.  27. 

42  Rite  of  Baptism  for  Children,  No.  5:  32  and  35. 
43 Rite  of  Funerals,  Introduction,  No.  4. 



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